Russia and the New Start

August 6, 2010

There have been several articles this week about the delay in the Senate over the New Start Treaty, a nuclear arms agreement President Obama has negotiated with Russia.  The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Senate had shelved the treaty until the fall session, potentially not until after the midterm elections.  This report was followed by a Times Editorial urging Senatorial critics to ratify.

While the treaty has gotten relatively little news coverage over the past few months, it has been an occasional hot topic.  In early July Mitt Romney aired several criticisms of the treaty; this was followed with a harsh rebuttal by Senator Luger, one of the main Republican voices in support of the treaty.

You can decide the merits of the treaty yourself by looking it up on Westlaw.  Treaties can be pulled via Find by Citation using various citation formats—the Senate Treaty Document number, the United States Treaties (U.S.T.) number, and the Treaties and Other International Agreements (T.I.A.S.) number, among others.  These formats can be something of a mystery, however, to lawyers unaccustomed to treaties and international law.

An easier solution might be to go to the USTREATIES database.  This database includes all treaties since 1778 to which the United States is a party, including treaties with American Indian tribes.  The database has a template that allows you to search by treaty name, or to pull all treaties between the U.S. and a specific country.

In the case of the New Start treaty, a search in Treaty Title for “New Start” retrieves no results, since New Start is not the technical title of the treaty.  However, a free-text search for “new start” will retrieve two results, the first of which is “A Treaty With Russia On Measures For Further Reduction And Limitation Of Strategic Offensive Arms”…also known as the “New START Treaty.”  The treaty can also be viewed at S. Treaty Doc. No. 111-5.

There are several other treaty databases in addition to USTREATIES, including databases with many European and International treaties.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for in USTREATIES, try CMB-TREATIES (which is the largest treaty database) or give the Reference Attorneys a call.

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